Michael Gove scrambles to head off Tory housebuilding revolt vowing to ‘stop new homes being turned into holiday lets’
- Fresh laws could make it harder to turn new homes into short-term holiday lets
- Michael Gove said to be mulling concessions in face of Tory housing rebellion
- Cabinet minister in talks with group of up to 60 MPs over planning legislation
Fresh laws could make it harder to turn new properties into holiday homes as part of Government efforts to avert a Tory rebellion, it has emerged.
Rishi Sunak is currently facing the prospect of a large revolt in the House of Commons over the Government’s flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
A group of up to 60 Tory MPs are supporting a series of amendments to the proposed planning legislation, as they bid to tighten rules on building homes in the countryside and suburbs.
In an attempt to keep a lid on the growing Conservative civil war, the Prime Minister is said to be in ‘deal-making mode’ with the rebels in an effort to prevent a Commons defeat.
According to The Times, Michael Gove – the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary – is in talks with disgruntled Tory MPs on a number of concessions.
This includes restrictions on properties built in popular tourist destinations, such as owners being forced to submit a ‘change of use’ planning application to the local council if they want to let out their property to short-term visitors, the newspaper reported.
Mr Gove is also said to be mulling further sanctions on developers who own land with planning permission but are yet to begin building on it.
The ‘use it or lose it’ powers could see planning permission rescinded unless building has begun within a year.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, is in talks with disgruntled Tory MPs over the Government’s flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
The Government could agree to fresh restrictions on properties built in popular tourist destinations in a bid to see off a rebellion. Pictured: St Ives in Cornwall
The Tory rebellion on planning laws is being led by former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers
Mr Gove could also reportedly give way on other rebels’ demands to incentivise construction on brownfield sites, or give local residents new rights of appeal against planning permission for unpopular developments.
A senior Tory source told The Times that concessions by the Government would be ‘far-reaching’, adding: ‘They are definitely in deal-making mode.’
But Mr Gove is said to be resisting the MPs’ call for local councils to ban all greenfield developments other than in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
The Tory rebellion on planning laws is being led by former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers.
The Government has already postponed a planned vote on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which had been due this week, in order to give time for ministers to ‘engage constructively’ with rebels.
Simon Clarke, who is Mr Gove’s predecessor as Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, recently tore into the rebels and warned that a failure by the Government to build more homes would damage the Tories at the ballot box.
He was it was ‘economics and politics 101’ that a lack of affordable housing would lead to the Conservative vote collapsing across the country.
Mr Clarke has led a fightback against the rebels’ efforts to alter planning legislation and abandon central housing targets.
The Tories’ manifesto before the 2019 general election included a promise to build 300,000 homes a year by the middle of this decade.
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